So much of sports marketing is actually not the marketing of the sport itself. The enthusiasm for the teams, and for the playing of the sport itself seems to come almost entirely from the stars of said sport. Kids are exposed to the players on television (Lesson #1, Broadway) and the next thing you know they’ve got posters on their wall of their favorite Forward, or shirts on their back of their favorite Quarterback. To use one of their own slogans, they all wanna “Be like Mike,” and ratings and ticket sales rise.
Broadway lacks the television appearances to reach those youngsters in China, but it certainly has the stars to impress them (or those predisposed to love the theater), right? We just gotta get them noticed.
If I was building an audience development plan for The Great White Way, I’d reconsider the idea of marketing the overall impersonal Broadway brand as a thing. Frankly, that’s a little boring. Instead I’d focus on marketing the people that get our standing ovations eight times a week . . . our own Forwards and Quarterbacks. Because if we know that the young folks out there are more likely to follow the theater (and more importantly, participate in the theater), if they get emotionally attached to our best “players,” then all that we need to do is make our stars even bigger stars to expand our audience.
In other words, we want them to “Be like Bernadette.”
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